Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thank you, Mr Tubridy

Dear Ryan Tubridy,

I hope this letter finds you well. I know you don’t know me, and you probably don’t want to know me, but I am writing this letter in solidarity as it was brought to my attention this week that austerity has hit you more than most over the past few years.

As a person who took voluntary redundancy late last year, I have some idea of the pain you must be going through. But to hear that the ‘powers that be’ did such damage to your pay-packet . . . I’m truly astounded.

In recent weeks I’ve met old people who spent 24 hours lying on trolleys in an overcrowded Emergency Department and young people on a JobBridge scheme embarrassed because they can’t afford to go for lunch with their co-workers. But, cripes, none of them have suffered like you have.

It’s been brought to my attention that you get paid €495,000 per year. This seems reasonable, you might claim, given all the work you do interviewing “celebrities” and “stars”. But few people understand the impact of cuts quite as much as you do, given that you were earning €723,000 just a few short years ago. That kind of savage cut must be a terrible burden on you and your family.

I guess that’s why you decided to take a trip into the unknown by inviting Paul Murphy TD of the Socialist Party onto the ‘Late Late Show’ last Friday night. You have so much in common. The cruel ‘powers that be’ have slashed your wages by almost 50%, since 2011, while they stripped him to the waist when he sat down in front of a car last November.

The Gardai even dragged him out of his bed before dawn on a Monday morning, for daring to take part in a protest. Austerity truly is a bitch these days.

I thought it was great that you could invite him onto your programme and share tales about the injustice of it all.

It’s not often that representatives of the working class get much airtime on the national broadcaster and, when they do, they are often seen standing in dole queues or running from courthouses with their faces hidden. Or, even worse, making fools of themselves on one of those wannabe “celebrity” shows.

So it was great that you invited this representative of the “underclass” onto your show, even if you were keen to point out his Fine Gael "heritage". At last viewers could get a chance to understand what drives people to sit down in front of a Minister’s car or march through the streets of our cities, protesting against Irish Water, on bitterly cold winter afternoons.

It was truly magnanimous of you to give Deputy Murphy a chance to explain why so many people are angry, why he believes so many have been excluded from the “economic recovery” we hear so much about on our national media these days.

I would not be Deputy Murphy’s biggest fan, but I want to thank you for giving him a platform last Friday night.

More importantly, however, I want to thank you for giving us all a glimpse into the mindset of the privileged few at the very top of Irish society.

I know he came onto your show to talk about the water charges protests, just a day after four protesters were sent to prison. The fifth, the lucky sod, happened to be sunning himself in the Canaries when a Judge decided to send him to jail.

So I want to thank you for interrupting Deputy Murphy at every opportunity, grilling him about protests which had nothing to do with him, and exposing him for the vile threat to life as we know it that he poses.

I want to thank you on behalf of all the people for exposing him for the “sinister” element he represents. He seems to be the kind of man who supports the kind of savage cuts which have affected your pay packet so dearly. The man's virtually a Communist. He'd probably want to see you on the minimum wage.

Your performance was brilliant. Instead of asking him about water charges, you made it so clear that the pesky underclass he represents pose a sinister threat to the status quo in Irish society. You had a right to be indignant. He says he's from the AAA, but we all know he's a member of the Anti-Everything Alliance.

What was the point in questioning him about the damage which seven years of austerity have done to the people he represents in Dublin South West? Not while you and your production team had a lovely video of idiots hurling abuse at President Michael D. Higgins out in Finglas.

I know, I know. Deputy Murphy had no hand, act, or part in that particular protest. But you were so right to interrogate him about it, because it shows that he and his movement truly are part of this “sinister fringe” who undermine everything RTE stands for.

If these loud protesters dare to sit on the ground in front of Ministers' cars, what next? Heck, they might even start trying to let members of the "underclass" inside the RTE studios on a regular basis. And, sure, as D'Unbelievables might say, "we can't have that ... "

These vile revolutionaries have a dangerous influence on people, especially the people of “Middle Ireland” who sit on their couches every Friday night cursing your programme because they can no longer afford to go to the pub.

Thank goodness you didn’t show a video of 100,000 people marching in peace and good humour against Irish Water on the streets of Dublin last October. Sure, that would only have annoyed the Government – and we all know who pays your wages, even if they have been slashed to shreds over the past four years.

God forbid that people like Deputy Murphy would ever get into power. Heck, he would probably even try to slash your wages even further, forcing you to live on the breadline.

Heaven forbid he would ever try to get the message across that ordinary people should not be in jail for protesting while corrupt bankers and developers will never step inside an Irish prison.

So, thanks again. I didn’t learn much about the water charges protesters on Friday night, but I learned an awful lot about you and the people you represent. It’s not often the “establishment” (a word Deputy Murphy seems to love) lets the mask slip to expose such contempt for those who dare to protest.

In a strange way, you have probably done a hell of a lot to revitalise the campaign against the water charges.

Thanks Ryan,
Ciaran Tierney.

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